The Great Wallpaper Adventure

Because houseguests are expected in two weeks--that's why/when you undertake a "reno" of the guest room that could have been done at any time in the previous six years. Well, "re-do" is more appropriate than "reno": no walls came down. But plenty of wallpaper did. And then paint went up on the walls (and dirt and crud came up from the carpet).

Turns out, you get lots of "thinking time" when your face is two inches from the wall for three full days. The main thing was a reminder of the 80/20 rule: The first 80 percent of the labor is completed in 20 percent of the time; the remaining 20 percent of the labor requires 80 percent of the time.

The first layer of wallpaper peels right off. Much of the underlayer comes off with a little more work. Here you're at 80% of the project but only 20% of the time. Getting all those ticky bits off (the last 20% of the removal) takes a water bottle sprayer, a scraper, and long-haul upper body strength (slow-twitch muscles rule).

Similarly, the first bit of "painting the wall" is relatively easy. Finding and adequately covering the places where the pink bleeds through, determining how/where/whether a second coat is needed and applying it--that kind of picky ticky work also takes a surprising amount of time.

Good writing can be similar in time: drafting is fine, but it creates something that's...just fine. It's the work you put in to get a product that's more than "just fine" that takes time. Time well spent.

The best part: having a finished product you can be proud of.